The State of Things

Attorney Wade Smith
Tharrington Smith

As a young boy in Stanly County, North Carolina, Wade Smith did not know what he wanted to be when he grew up; he knew only that he had a deep desire to do something "good and useful." 

Armada Cover, by Ernest Cline
Broadway Books

Following the rapid rise of his debut novel, “Ready Player One (Random House/2011),” Ernest Cline felt pressure to produce another cult classic.

His latest sci-fi work, “Armada (Broadway Books/2016)," is a New York Times bestseller and is already a hit in tech circles. The novel will be made into a major motion picture.

Governor Pat McCrory
Hal Goodtree / Flickr Creative Commons

Governor Pat McCrory issued an executive order this week that changes some provisions in North Carolina's controversial House Bill Two.

It loosens some of the limits placed on discrimination protections for LGBT people, but it leaves the provisions on bathrooms and minimum wage restrictions in place.

The order was announced in the wake of a business backlash against HB2. Deutsche Bank said it would freeze the expansion it had planned for 250 jobs in Cary. Paypal recently halted plans to create 400 jobs in Charlotte.

Alan Dehmer / ManBites Dog Theater

Editor's note: this conversation contains elements of sex and violence that might not be suitable for some listeners. 

In the near future, the Internet has become a totally immersive virtual reality called The Nether, in which users can carry out their wildest fantasies.

Leesa Jones

The story of the American Civil War is often told through famous battles and important generals. But that narrative doesn’t accurately represent North Carolina’s civil war story. In this state, the impact of the civil war was felt more on the homefront, within the homes, families and communities of ordinary people. The North Carolina Museum of History has begun an effort to pay tribute to these lesser-known Civil War stories through the North Carolina Civil War History Center, set to open in 2020.

Dorothy Managan, 93, served as an Army nurse in Tacoma, Wa. after World War II. She recently added her life story to her medical record at the Asheville, N.C. VA Medical Center.
Jay Price / American Homefront

 

For many health professionals, treating patients is a matter of assessing their ailments, making a diagnosis and prescribing treatment where it is required. Then it is on to the next patient. But a new program in VA medical centers aims to make connections between medical professionals and their patients through narratives.
 

A handful of student protesters have occupied the administration building at Duke University for nearly a week. The demonstration is a response to an incident in which a white administrator hit a black parking attendant with his car. The attendant, Shelvia Underwood, alleges Duke executive Vice President Tallman Trask then used a racial slur in frustration. Protesters say the alleged incident raises questions about the way the school treats minimum wage employees, and have demanded Trask's resignation and a living wage for Duke employees. The university says it will negotiate.

Damon Wayans performing comedy in 2007.
Wikipedia

For some Oscar viewers this year, host Chris Rock’s jokes about race crossed a line. But in the world of humor, is there a line?  

Do certain comedians have greater license to make jokes that might be offensive if delivered by others? And does the composition of the audience matter?

In Our Son's Name

When Phyllis and Orlando Rodriguez lost their son Greg on September 11, 2001, they felt extreme sadness, grief, and fear for the future of their family.

But they also felt a lot of dread about how the U.S. government might react and what kind of international upheaval would occur in light of the attacks.

 

Greensboro skyline
Scott Moore, Flickr, Creative Commons

Approximately 1,000 people gathered in Greensboro on Sunday to protest a controversial new law passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory.

Participants voiced their opposition to HB2. Gov. McCrory signed the bill into law immediately following its passage. The measure addresses a bathroom ordinance passed by the Charlotte City Council, but it has other provisions that hinder the ability of municipalities to prevent discrimination.

David Bolton

There is a kind of musician who stays true to his or her passion, no matter the cost.

They may have to hustle at side jobs to make ends meet, but they will do whatever it takes to make it to their gigs at local bars. While that narrative is somewhat romanticized, it holds true for many professional musicians.

Diana Matthews / Algonquin Books

Lee Smith started writing stories when she was nine years old and sold them for a nickel a piece.

Many of them were inspired by the gossip, true stories and daily grind she observed at her father's dime store, deep in the coal mining mountains of Virginia.

That is where she developed her extraordinary ability to tell a story, listening to the joy and conflict of the lives that defined Appalachia.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

The backlash against North Carolina's House Bill 2 continues.

Protesters in Chapel Hill shut down Franklin St. this week in opposition of the law that leaves LGBT people out of the state's non-discrimination policy.

Gov. Pat McCrory has taken the lead in defending the law, claiming it protects public safety.

Meanwhile, the chair of the North Carolina Republican Party, Hasan Harnett, says the rift between himself and the state party's leadership could cause chaos in the GOP primary. 

Lust And Wonder

Apr 1, 2016
Augusten Burroughs

Author Augusten Burroughs has a habit of making the private public. His memoir “Running with Scissors” (Picador/2003) traces his chaotic childhood with a mother with mental illness, and his eventual guardianship by her psychiatrist. His best-selling book “Dry” (Picador/2013) chronicled the painful outcomes of his drinking and drug use, and detailed his tumultuous journey to sobriety. Burroughs' newest book tackles an even more intimate topic: love. “Lust and Wonder” (St.

Image of Malika Ndlovu
Malika Ndlovu

What is home? For many in Africa and its diaspora, the meaning of the word "home" has been altered, deconstructed and recreated by external forces like war, colonialism, and globalization. Narratives of home and decisions around the home have also been historically framed from the male point of view, while women bear the brunt of these decisions.

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